Sunday, 28 August 2011

Moscow Chill / Moroz po kozhe

I have to admit that I embraced Reedus Season with as much commitment as I show most other aspects of my life.  I received three new dvds to watch several weeks ago and I am only getting around to watch them.

The first of the three is Moscow Chill and thanks to some wonderful internet friends sending me oodles of attractive pictures, female shallowness kicked in and anticipation was high.

PLOT:  Ray (Norman Reedus) is a small time hacker nearing the end of a six month sentence when he escapes jail and is taken to Russia where he meets Dubinsky (Vladimir Kuleshov).  Ray teams up with two friendly Russian criminals Dolphin (Slava Schoot) and Vasya (Konstantin Yushkevich) in order to hack into local banks and steal $40million.  Everyone sits around drinking.  Ray steals $40million.  Everyone sits around eating a large watermelon and granny’s strawberries.  Ray falls in love with Maya (Xenia Buravsky). Everyone is double crossed by Dubinsky.  Ray falls in love with Moscow.  The battle for $42million is on (although it’s not explained where the extra $2million comes from!  END PLOT

The plot was fine and flowed reasonably well. There was a wonderfully dark comedic moment after Ray, Dolphin and Vasya do the “respectable” thing and visit the victim of their bank theft in hospital only to discover that they had apologised to and thereafter killed the wrong man.  

The ending of the film was also quite strong as there was no real macho showdown and it was more character driven which made for a refreshing change.

Aside from Norman Reedus the rest of the cast is made up entirely of Russian actors none of whom looked familiar.  This helped to enhance the “fish out of water” theme which was running through the film.

The Russian cast spoke Russian to one another which was appreciated from a film-making point of view but because I imported my dvd from Spain I found myself listening to Russian whilst trying to translate Spanish subtitles – there were several short scenes which became lost in translation.

The film was shot on a non-existent budget of $1million and it showed as it looked grainy, rough and in some shots almost out of focus - the scenery however looked cold, damp and derelict but was downright beautiful. There were times when Reedus looked very very cold!  Moscow Chill used its lack of funds to its advantage and created a very natural looking film devoid of any Hollywood gloss.

On the face of it Moscow Chill reads like a thriller however the action is very limited and when it comes it is very very basic.  The shootout scenes have a very raw look and feel about them which makes them seem all the more real although if I am to pick a fault it would be the obvious squib on Ray's arm when he gets shot. 

Moscow Chill attempts to be a coming of age/fish out of water drama, a black comedy and an action free thriller all rolled into one and what’s weirder still is it totally pulls this off!

It is 100% accurate to say that if Norman Reedus wasn’t in this film I would never watch it on tv let alone seek it out so God bless Reedus and his off the beaten track career choices as it has thrown up some wonderful films. 

I am happy to report that The Messengers 2: The Scarecrow was just a blip in a very successful run of Independent films that would have passed me by completely if I hadn’t known to look for them.

I have to dedicate this particular blog to the wonderful Dixons Vixens as without this amazing family I lucked my way into there would be no Reedus Season.

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